Friday, 24 November 2017


What is friendship? I have realized friendship is defined differently by people and even the way one chooses their friends differs from one person to the next. There are childhood friends, high school and college friends and others we meet as life  progresses. A number of names have popped up that refer to different kinds of friendships. There are besties, bffs, bromances and a whole lot more. 

But what is friendship to me? To me, friendship is that relationship of mutual affection between people who care about each other and not limiting them to gender. I believe people of the opposite sex can be friends and have a pure, genuine friendship but hey, I realized this is a debatable issue. So let's leave it there. A friend is that one person you want to call if you have good news or bad, he/she knows what you like and what you don't like and can even make boring circumstances or errands fun. She/he is that one person you would seek advice from, talk about how that guy or girl is breaking your heart and you have ice cream together or watch that soccer game together. So if I meet you today don't expect me to say you are my friend, no you not.  We have friends whom we do not talk to often but believe in us as if they where family and the moment we meet it's like they never left. Those kind of friendships are just special like that. 

As much as it all seem fun and easy, I believe that friendship demands time and effort. It also requires one to put someone other than themselves first sometimes. Thus I realized in my past friendships (yes I said past) that the element of not putting effort and time in a friendship made it seem one sided thus affected these relationships and in the end all was lost. 

I also got to learn from my friendships that for the relationships to prevail there is need of honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty and acceptance. I mean I have a few friends which is by choice and most are really acquaintances. However, my relationship with one friend differs from the other and I have to accept them as they are and their differences because each brings something to my life which is not the same as the other friend. I mean if you take a look at my friends, their characters and mine totally different but we blend like that. So I wonder "show me your friends and I will show you your character " does it apply always?

Then it comes to the question, how do you choose your friends? So this differs from one person to another because what attracted us to our friends is different but some things are similar. As for me, I chose my friends because of the similar interests and values we uphold. I mean I wouldn't want to be in a friendship which would cause me to compromise my own principles just for the sake of keeping the friendship. My friends also bring balance in areas where I am weak. What do I mean by this? I mean, for example if I have a bad fashion taste and my best friend is a guru in fashion, it would mean she would help me in that area. I mean we all have strengths and weaknesses thus the need for friends to pitch in and help us. Another important thing on how I chose my friends is their belief in Christ and their ability to celebrate with me on my success and motivate me to do more.

In as much as I have elaborated on importance of friendship, there is also what I call "dumping friends". It might seem harsh but it's not. According to a brainstorm session I did with a group of young ladies, most agreed that when friendships become toxic or when friends genuinely grow apart then it's a sign to call it quits. I believe one shouldn't hold on to something that's not working after all and no one said people would be friends forever. Life paths change, level of growth changes and a number of things affect different friendships. But we have all heard that friends can either make you or break you, this is true because these are the people you trust and open your life too, so be wise in choosing who you let in your life.

All I am saying is one should chose friends wisely and be able to let go of unhealthy friendships that hinder progress. Again, give what you expect to get. If you expect great friends then you yourself have to be one hell of a great friend. Check your friendships , are they worth it? What do they bring to your life?

Friday, 10 November 2017

Beautiful Scars 3: Her Journey

This week's blog features an amazing lady's story who went through the traumatic, the difficult but her faith, strength and hope kept her going. May Chacha's story encourage and inspire you. 

On June 16th 2014 I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 3, stage IIA. Gulp, that's some scary sounding stuff right?

Where it all began when I found a lump in my breast in 2012, worried I went to the doctor and had a scan, the doctor advised me not to worry as it was just a fibroadenoma. 1st lesson learnt, never keep a lump whether malignant or not. Get it taken out! Request a breast biopsy to be sure. A scan may not pick up a malignant lump as in my case. Knowledge is power. If I had known earlier when I found the lump , my cancer could have been treated in the early stages using less harsh methods. Anyway everything happens for a reason. I do not believe in regrets but in learning from your mistakes, please learn from my experience.

Fast forward a year and a half later, the lump became painful. By this time I had moved jobs and was now working for pathologists. As soon as I told them about my painful lump they immediately ordered me to have a breast biopsy. I got the shock of my life to find out the lump was malignant. I was 27, led an active and healthy lifestyle, hardly a candidate but it just goes to show that statistics are just that STATISTICS. You can always fall on the other side of the stats, don't take anything for granted. 

Thankfully my employer was very supportive. Second lesson learnt, God puts you in the place he needs you to be. A few weeks before I was diagnosed, one of the pathologists asked me what I was doing working for pathologists, she expected me to be working for some big corporate seeing as I am a professional. I now know God placed me there for such a time as that. In a big corporate I would likely not have had access to the financial resources and knowledge my employers, specialists in the medical field had for me to tackle this monster. They took me under their wings and ensured I had access to the best treatment. I was also fortunate to be on a good medical aid plan that covered treatment outside the country, which sadly most women who find themselves as victims cannot say. I thank God for this privilege and though I sometimes suffer from survivors' guilt, I know surviving means I must do my part in helping those who do not have the same privilege I have been accorded. To whom much is granted, much is expected.

After my initial diagnosis, I went for a second opinion. I met with a breast surgeon, from there things happened fast, next I was in hospital having a lymph node biopsy which confirmed the cancer had not spread outside my breast, thank God! After that I saw the oncologist who prescribed my chemotherapy regime. From there I was back home to face life with cancer. I started 6 months of chemotherapy, 6 sessions of 3 weekly cycles which were grueling to say the least. I lost my all my hair, yes even down there, lashes and all! Never in my entire life have I missed shaving my legs and armpits but this time I definitely did! The things we take for granted in life. Everything on me turned black my nails, hands, soles, tongue and even my complexion. Add to that I put on 7kgs of weight, devastating I tell you. I felt unpretty in the words of TLC but I guess it was a small price to pay to stay alive. My cancer was o estrogen positive so I also had to take a drug called tamoxifen. This induced menopause meaning no periods and terrible hot flushes, the worst thing ever to happen to a woman. There were moments I thought I would die if I had to have another hot flush. When you think you'll die, chances are you won't!

To help me prepare for my chemo journey I got my eyebrows tattooed on, a nice little secret Prof M let me in on. I was even lucky enough to go when they were on half price special, "whoohoo" nothing like a good bargain.  I also got a lovely wig, which was the envy of many. This brings me to lesson number 3, never envy the next person you don't know their story. Very few people who stroked that wig longingly knew what lay beneath it. I always had to have my nails done to cover the black mess they were. It may seem vain, but these small things helped to lift my spirit and make me feel feminine and beautiful during this difficult time. Chemo was a monster of sorts! The smell of food made me sick. I craved weird things like sadza and maguru, Schweppes orange and pineapples. I indulged myself though because eating was difficult so if I found something I could tolerate, I ran with it.

When you have everything all planned out, life is what happens next. Just before I was diagnosed I had booked myself and some friends on our first big trip off to Mauritius, now how was I going to go to the beach weak and hairless?

 Lesson number three you are stronger than you think and you are what you say you are. I decided now way was I going to miss out on my already paid for holiday. I would make it by hook or crook and I did exactly that! We went on holiday shortly after my  3rd round of chemo even though I was progressively weaker by that time. I spent two days in bed whilst on holiday but I made every other moment count and summoned all my strength to paraglide, sea walk, raft and snorkel in the Indian ocean, something I never imagined I'd be able to do under those circumstances.

Not only had I planned a big holiday, I had my registered for final qualifying exam. The chemo was causing my memory to fail me slowly but surely (they call it chemo fog). I barely had energy to study as most of the time I was very tired or just plain nauseous. My prayer to God was he would give me wisdom to recall all I had learnt over the 5 years I spent preparing for this exam. 
Lesson number four, what a mighty, miracle working God we serve, not only did I pass that exam, I passed in the top 10 nationally! Something I had never imagined. I give all honor and glory to God and take no credit for this achievement.

The last two rounds of chemo were really bad, at this point the minute I sat in the chair at the chemo unit, I started to have panic attacks because my body just couldn't take it anymore. My veins and my arm were permanently swollen because of the intravenous needles used to administer the drugs (no they do not burn you during chemo as I always used to hear). I had to be sedated to get through my sessions but by the grace of God I made it. I responded well to the chemo and went for a mastectomy, reconstruction and breast lift all in one go, yeah that's a mouthful and another testimony here. Whilst I was busy organising finances for my treatment, flights, accommodation and medical aid admin my breast surgeon emailed me not to worry as she had put my name forward to be considered for their breast excellence centre programme and I was accepted. This meant my operation would be done for free! Everything was covered including my breast implant. All I had to do was show up. The only charges were for hospital consumables, a nominal fee which my medical aid covered in full post operation. My operation was successful. No further traces of cancer were found. I healed well, the remaining scars simply there to remind me that God fought for me to be here.

On the day I was diagnosed as I sat on my couch crying, I was overcome by an overwhelming peace and God whispered that I would be ok. God watches over His word to perform it. I was more than ok, I was victorious. I thank Him for the peace to accept my situation and strength to soldier on even when I was at my lowest and did not think I could carry on. He blessed me with wonderful people who helped me through a very difficult time. He made a way in the wilderness. God came through for me in more ways than I can explain. His favour located me and surrounded me as a shield. Those who knew me could not believe I was sick because I was glowing and radiant throughout. The anointing of Jehovah Mkaddesh .My prayer was this sickness will not end in death but will be for the glory of God and I stand here today as a testament of Jehovah Rapha's grace and faithfulness. The balm of Gilead healed me.

May my story encourage  you today in whatever situation you face, we serve a living God. Cancer is not a death sentence.

Friday, 3 November 2017

The Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not easy but at the end of the day I believe it is worth it. Forgiveness is the ability to let go of all the pain and suffering that another would have inflicted on you and not hold grudges. It is when you set aside all your differences and come to a realization that the past is past and it's time to move on. Forgiveness involves giving up or letting go of any claim to compensation for the hurt one would have caused us, the renewal of your heart, your mind and spirit, replacing the bad thoughts and feelings towards a person with positive feelings. 

Ephesians 4:31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.

Of course it is not easy to just wake up one morning and forgive that person that did you wrong but it is not healthy as well to stay angry and bitter forever. Anger and bitterness reduces the chances of progress in life and distracts you from your purpose . I mean what good comes out of an angry and bitter person, nothing? Everything you might want to touch or even try to do fail because of unforgiveness which then hinders progress. 

I realized that most people including myself at some point in our lives carried anger, bitterness and resentment of failed relationships into the new relationships. Not only am I talking about romantic relationships but even non- romantic relationships. I wouldn't lie and say I never struggled with unforgiveness, I did but I learnt the benefits of forgiveness and my life was never the same .

I learnt that forgiveness opens doors to so much happiness, improves one’s health and you develop a peace of mind. Not only that, but you realize that socially you improve even in the way you relate to different people you meet along the way. One has to realize that, being bitter and angry and bottling things inside will not help you achieve anything. Actually you will be doing more harm to yourself than anyone else. Yes! Most would believe that the person they aren't forgiving is the one being punished in the process but no, you are punishing yourself. Seeing that person who wronged you and you change the direction of your path or you look at them like they are a nuisance. Who are you hurting, yourself? There is no life that's enjoyable when you are always angry and bitter, not open to those good feelings and happy thoughts. Let go, let it all go, you won't lose anything but actually gain a lot. 

I have also noticed that you can be angry and bitter at someone but funny thing is their lives didn't stop because you are angry. They are probably getting ahead with their goals and purpose in life and you are stuck in the past being bitter and unforgiving. These people would probably have asked for forgiveness but chose not to dwell on your unforgiveness since they played their part in the whole process. Looking at it , you the unforgiving person you are hurting yourself more than you are hurting that other person. 

Many may think that it is unfair to forgive that person who hurt you the most and letting them off easily without paying for the pain caused. Most would think they are getting freedom whilst you got pain but watch this, if you release them God will do what only He can do. Through forgiveness comes blessings and these blessings come from obedience.  

I believe also that forgiveness does not only involve you forgiving another person but also forgiving yourself. In life, we go through so many struggles, probably make horrible decisions that affect our future decisions, get involved in stuff we weren't supposed to. But I understand that forgiving oneself from what you even put yourself through is necessary. It helps in rebuilding one self’s confidence, strength, emotional and psychological well being thus leading to healthy and conscious decisions and healthy relationships with people. If one can forgive themselves then they are able to forgive others.